Week of 26 October – 1 November 1 2014
I hate grass but…
During the growing season grass needs to be cut on a regular basis. That was part of my inspiration for converting our yard in to a mini-farm.
When David moved the raised bed which was next to the greenhouse, this past January, we had to decide what would take its place. Before the raised was built, this area was used for our container garden. The two things I did not like about our former container garden was plastic and mud. Plastic was put down to keep the roots of the plants in the pots from growing into the ground this in turn kept the ground damp and muddy.
We decided to sow grass in this small area and use it for entertaining instead of growing. On Sunday the weather was so beautiful that we had our breakfast outside and enjoyed our small bit of greensward.
David framed in the doorways for the tunnels and I helped cover the tunnels with plastic.
The winter rye and daikon radish in the pepper bed are doing well even the mix we planted past the recommend sowing time. When the rye and radish get bigger we will mulch the area between the rye mix and the raised beds with leaves.
Week of 19 October – 25 October 2014
David’s main project this week was the construction of our “Just Wright tunnels”.
I harvested and pulled up the rest of our sweet pepper plants. Although the weather was still conducive to their continued production we needed to get a cover crop on that area. It has been a very good season for peppers but now it is time to fret about our fall and winter crops.
David also sowed winter rye in his October bean row and between my “What Not’s”.
We finished with Catawba this week. David picked the October beans one more time then cut them down. It was too wet to sow rye in this row but the sweet potato row was seeded.
Week of 12 October – 18 October 2014
The deer found a way past all of our barriers, trampled our cover crops and devoured most of my blueberry kumquat tomatoes. These tomatoes apparently are very hardy; they survived late blight and cold weather but unfortunately they are not deer proof. David believes he has found the deer’s point of entry and will construct more deterrents to their access.
David ordered the plastic for our just Wright tunnels and began to assemble a frame, for one of them, over bed c.
Our market season is winding down. We have only two more Grandin Village Community Markets Oct 25th and Nov 1st but we will still be at West End.
West End Community Market is open all year.
David picked October beans twice at Catawba. Next week will probably be the end of them.
We sowed winter rye, in stages, after harvesting each crop.
We still need to cover a few more areas with rye.
Week of 5 October – 11 October 2014
Besides watching the eclipse this week we went to Catawba twice. The first day, while David picked the last of the green beans, I pulled up the Roma tomato plants. Late blight wiped them out before they could ripen. While I mowed, David tilled and sowed winter rye in the tomato and green bean rows.
The second time we went to Catawba, David picked October beans then helped me harvest our sweet potato crop.
At home David picked and tilled under the last of our bush green beans and sowed winter rye. We still have some October, Rattlesnake, and Romano beans to harvest.
I pulled up half of my pepper plants; the others will stay until frost, and sowed a mixture of winter rye and daikon radish in this area. The daikon radish had to be planted by the first part of October and will not be harvested. They will be left in place for their life cycle. This will help loosen and aerate the soil. That’s the theory anyways, we’ll see, more to come on this subject.
David mixed several loads of potting soil and filled a number of five gallon pots and our greenhouse growing beds with it.
David adding sand to our growing bed mix.
We are testing both to see if there is any difference in their performance. More on this subject later.
Weeks of 21 September – 4 October 2014
For the past two weeks we have been cleaning up and preparing our growing areas for their next round of plantings.
David emptied all the eggplants pots into the former tomato patch. Since tomatoes and eggplants are members of the same family we will not plant any of their family members in this area for three years. After tilling this area we broadcast several different types of old seeds. If they come up we will have some more greens, if not, we will broadcast some winter rye.
Our neighbor gave us a few more bales of hay. David decided to use them in the compost pile. He made a lasagna style layered pile. It started out about seven feet high now it is about three feet high. David is constantly monitoring its temperature. In the morning you can see the water vapor rising.
On Friday Oct. the 3rd we went up to Seven Spring Farm for some supplies, winter rye, perlite, daikon radish, rice hulls and Slugo. We are planning to do a comparison study between the perlite and rice hulls to see which one works best in our potting mix. We will also be testing daikon radish as a winter cover crop, more on these subjects later.
The latest in farming fashion
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Week of 14 September – 20 September 2014
At Catawba, this week, besides picking beans and Roma tomatoes we tilled and sowed Winter Rye in the former potato and corn patches.
At home we started a major clean up. David removed the black-eye plants and put the BMSB traps into nearby trees.
I planted some brassicas in the old summer squash bed and removed all the plants and stakes from the tomato patch.
Week of 7 September – 13 September 2014
Because of the beans we went to Catawba three times. David picked while I mowed, cleaned up weeds and took down the electric fence around the former cabbage patch. Except for Friday, while David picked beans, in the pouring rain, I sat in the car reading.
At home David did a lot of yard work, weed eating and clearing brush in preparation for planting more evergreen trees along our border. He also tilled the squash bed and picked more beans.
I weeded and worked in the house.
Week of 31 August – 6 September 2014
When we went to Catawba on Wednesday we found the electric fence off. All of our cabbage, over one hundred plants, had been eaten and our Roma beans had been topped. David had extended the electric fence to specifically protect these areas. Sharing a fence with other growers has its drawbacks. Apparently one of them forgot to turn the fence back on before leaving.
On Friday the fence was working. While David picked beans I cleaned up our second round of corn. David also picked corn from our third rotation.
At home David prepared several beds. He planted green onions and White Lady turnips in two of them and I sowed spinach, kale and mustard seed in the others. David also harvested the acorn squash and cleaned up the summer squash bed.
White Lady turnips
Week of 24 August – 30 August 2014
We went to Catawba twice this week. On Wednesday I mowed the grass around our patch and dug more potato. David set out our cabbage seedlings. On Friday David installed a short electric fence around the cabbage area, to keep the critters from devouring the seedlings.
We both dug potatoes; they are all in storage now.
David put three BMSB traps in his black-eye pea patch. The bait in the traps is over a year old so David primed each trap with several live bugs. These bugs lure other BMSB to the traps.
The adults are starting to come into the house for the winter. They are greeted with an isopropyl cocktail, alcohol in a jar.
David pulled all of the plants from bed C and tilled. When it was finally dry enough, he set out some pea plants in bed C and sowed beet seeds in bed B.
Week of 17 August – 23 August 2014
On Thursday we went to Catawba. David tilled the upper part of the old potato patch, it was just dry enough, in order to plant cabbage seedlings there next week.
Although I dug potatoes the whole time we were there, I still have two more rows to dig. We are concerned that because of all the rain they will start to rot; David will help dig the next time we go.
We did manage to harvest, in the rain, on Tuesday and Friday for our markets. A lot of tomatoes were composted because they were splitting open from absorbing too much water.
All our plans to sow seeds for our fall crops washed away with the frequent downpours.
Too muddy to plant.
Week of 10 August – 16 August
Gravel is the bane of our existence, along with stink bugs of course.
David has spent a lot of time, over the past 15 years, removing gravel from our growing area. The previous owner spread out a lot of the stuff , covering walkways and drive ways. These accesses do not exist anymore, having been converted to agricultural plots.
When bed B was moved, last season, some more gravel revealed itself. Before David can sow root crops, in this bed, he has to remove it by running shovels of dirt through a screen separating soil from gravel. The soil stays while the gravel is moved out front to our small driveway.
The BMSB have managed to destroy David’s black-eye peas. He will leave the plants, for a while, in order to use them as a trap crop, in an attempted to keep these demon stink bugs from spreading to his beans and my tomatoes.
Life of a Roma tomato patch
Week of 3 August – 9 August
Despite the rain Saturday, market was our best this season. Thanks to all who came out in the wet weather to support the vendors at the Grandin Village market.
Weeding and fertilizing were on our agenda for this week. In an effort to keep the harvest going, David weeded and spread Harmony organic fertilizer around all our tomato plants in our main patch.
Because my herb garden was not preforming well I asked David to spread some Harmony on it a few weeks ago. The Galinsoga loved it and took control, over powering my dill.
At Catawba I pulled more potatoes while David weeded wacked and while I mowed he added another line to the electric fence that he put around his bean and sweet potato rows.
We both weeded around out last rotation of corn.
Week of 27 July – 2 August
Fall crops were on our minds this week. Our Stonehead cabbage seedlings are doing well and we will plant them at Catawba in a few weeks.
David started to prepare bed B for fall crops and a just Wright tunnel. A just Wright tunnel is not a low tunnel nor a high tunnel but just the right size for David’s 6’2” down the middle.
We had one little spot in our Main Garden that has been empty this season. David decided to plant some pickling cucumbers and dill in that area.
Week of 20 July – 26 July
David went to the Doctors again Wednesday and received some new medications. The problem he has been experiencing is due to the side effects of his treatments not the cancer. The new meds seem to be helping to regulate his system.
On Monday and Friday we went to Catawba and pulled potatoes and erected a support for the few tomato plants we have there.
We started our clean-up of the Secret Garden. We are still waiting on the Silver King corn to mature .
Because Catawba has been so dry this year and the critters are starting to eat the bean seedlings there, David decided to plant some beans at home.
Week of 13 July – 19 July
On Monday and Friday we went to Catawba and pulled potatoes. While I pulled spuds David worked on a low rise electric fence around our beans and sweet potato patch and he also watered.
The plan was to sow kale in the pepper bed. However, our neighbor, who was cleaning out his barn, gave us several bales of old hay. So David decided to mulch the pepper bed with it. In the fall it will be tilled into the soil.
I also transplanted fall seedlings from germination trays into cell packs. Because of cabbage moths we have to keep these plants covered with row cover until they get bigger. We also pull up all of our heirloom onions.
Week of 6 July – 12 July
David experienced some complications which were attributed to his last surgery. He was out of commission for the first part of the week. Tuesday and Friday we prepared for our markets. On Thursday we went to Catawba. It was dry as a bone.While I set up some drip irrigation around the sweet potatoes and pulled up our Red Chieftain and Kennebec potatoes, David tilled up the dust to plant his 5th round of beans.While I planted the beans David till between the corn rows. Before leaving we had to cover the sweet potatoes with row cover because something was eating them.
Back at home David had a burst of energy and did a lot of hoeing and garden maintenance.
I had to hoe my sweet peppers because the buckwheat once again failed to germinate. Seed companies should be required to put germ test information on their containers and not just the sell by date. Now I am going to try some kale as a cover in every other row. Stay tuned.
Week of 29th June – 5 July
The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men Last week the plan was to sow the spring onion bed with buckwheat. However, David changed his mind and planted summer squash there instead because he had a tray of plants left over from market. Now the plan is to sow kale as a cover crop in this bed when the summer squash is harvested. The kale will have a dual purpose. Some of it will be harvested for market but most will be incorporated into the soil.
On Wednesday, after another unexpected trip to the doctors, we finally made our annual trek up Bent Mount to Seven Springs Farms to pick up a load of organic growing supplies.
Another Thursday was spent at Catawba. While I mowed and planted sweet potatoes plants, David weed wacked and hoed potatoes.
I planted my second round of Spanish Musica pole beans in pots. I put several in one pot and David ran several strings from the pots up a couple of post that are located close to the house. This arrangement will allow us to encircle these posts with row covers at night to protect the Musicas from nocturnal marauding munchers.
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